Black Monday Tracker: Follow NFL head coaching changes

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It’s Black Monday in the NFL, meaning several coaches, general managers — and teams — are waiting to see what their futures hold.

Some coaches didn’t even make it to Monday before being fired, and, of course, Black Monday came a week early for Chip Kelly, who was fired by the Eagles on the verge of finishing his third season. Below is all the latest on head coaches and general managers around the NFL:

9:40 p.m. ET: In a stunning turn of events, the Colts announced a surprise contract extension with Chuck Pagano after it was widely believed for months that Pagano would be relieved of his duties at the end of the season even if the Colts made the playoffs. After Indianapolis fell short of the postseason, Pagano’s exit seemed to be a mere formality, but now he’ll get a chance to reverse his and the franchise’s fortune with a healthy Andrew Luck in 2016.

FIRED: Chargers offensive coordinator Reich

3:53 p.m. ET: The Chargers have fired offensive coordinator Frank Reich, according to reports. Head coach Mike McCoy is safe regardless of whether the team plays in San Diego or Los Angles next year, a source tells ProFootballTalk.

Coughlin steps down as Giants coach

2:20 p.m. ET: Tom Coughlin has stepped down as head coach of the New York Giants. He won two Super Bowls in 12 seasons as Giants head coach.

In a statement, Coughlin said, “I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and as I said, the Giants organization.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants. This is not a sad occasion for me. I have spent 15 years with this organization as an assistant and head coach and was fortunate to be part of three Super Bowl winning teams.”

Coughlin reportedly may not retire and is open to “the right opportunity.”

1:40 p.m. ET: After firing Jim Tomsula on Sunday, 49ers CEO Jed York said Monday that Trent Baalke will stay as the team’s GM and will hire the Niners’ next coach. One scenario to keep an eye on: The Niners going after Saints coach Sean Payton.

1:08 p.m. ET: Where the Chargers play next year remains to be seen, but Mike McCoy is being kept on as head coach despite a 4-12 season.

1:00 p.m. ET: The Dolphins beat the Patriots on Sunday, but the folks in Miami still reportedly want to speak with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

FIRED: Titans toss GM Webster

12:22 p.m. ET: The writing was on the wall for Ruston Webster after head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired during the season. The Titans fired Webster on Monday. Steve Underwood has been permanently promoted to President and CEO of the team.

HIRED: Dolphins tab Grier as new GM

11:47 a.m. ET: That didn’t take long. Chris Grier is the new general manager of the Miami Dolphins, the team announced Monday. The Dolphins fired Dennis Hickey as GM only two days ago.

 

10:36 a.m. ET: All signs are pointing to Tom Coughlin resigning as head coach of the New York Giants after missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Coughlin will reportedly meet with ownership at 1 p.m. ET.

10:11 a.m. ET: What will happen to Jeff Fisher in St. Louis after the Rams went 7-9? His job could be safe due to the team’s geographic uncertainty. A move to Los Angeles looks more than possible for the Rams.

8:39 a.m. ET: Mike Shanahan will interview with the Dolphins for their head-coaching vacancy on Tuesday, Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports.

7:14 a.m. ET: Chip Kelly has reached out to the 49ers to tell them that he’d like to coach them, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Kelly was fired last week by the Eagles after missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

6:29 a.m. ET: Jason Garrett isn’t leaving Dallas, according to Jerry Jones: “There’s no thought of replacing Jason. At all.”

SUNDAY EARLY-BIRD ACTION

FIRED: 49ers part with Tomsula

10:06 p.m. ET: Jim Tomsula‘s tenure in San Francisco has officially ended after only one season. Tomsula exits after a tumultuous 5-11 season. He was with the organization for nine years.

8:53 p.m. ET: The Eagles will reportedly pursue coach Sean Payton if he does not stay on as Saints coach. Payton reportedly has a Monday meeting with Saints GM Mickey Loomis.

FIRED: Pettine, Farmer out at Cleveland

7:09 p.m. ET: The Browns have fired head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer. Pettine was 10-22 in two years as head coach in Cleveland. Doug Marrone will reportedly be the first person interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy, but Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam denies that. Haslam quickly promoted the Browns’ general counsel, Sashi Brown, to executive director of football operations and gave Brown control of the 53-man roster.

The NFL’s final 4 all overcame injuries to star players

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The list of players sitting out this weekend’s conference championships is almost as impressive as the starting lineups: Julian Edelman. Carson Wentz. Dalvin Cook. Dont'a Hightower. Allen Robinson. Sam Bradford.

Following the NFL’s season of carnage that claimed the likes of, among others, Aaron Rodgers, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham Jr. and Joe Thomas, this year’s final four all overcame not only the odds – “Minneapolis Miracle , anyone?” – but devastating injuries to key starters.

“We have a tough and resilient team,” Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long said of the NFC’s top seed , which is missing its second-year QB in Wentz, an MVP hopeful when he blew out a knee in December.

Even before Wentz’s injury thrust backup Nick Foles into the starting job for the playoffs, the Eagles lost nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, playmaking middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, versatile return specialist Darren Sproles, and special teams captain Chris Maragos.

Yet, here they are, 60 minutes from Minneapolis and Super Bowl 52.

“I think that starts at the top with Doug, because he sets the tone for being resilient and even keeled,” Long said of his coach, Doug Pederson. “At the end of the day, we have a tough group of guys.”

So do the Minnesota Vikings, who are trying to reach their first Super Bowl in more than four decades and fulfill mantra to “Bring it Home” and become the first NFL team to play the title game in its own stadium.

And they’re doing so behind Case Keenum, who crashed Tom Brady‘s playoff party along with fellow perennial backup Foles and Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.

Together, the four quarterbacks left standing have a combined five Super Bowl rings, two NFL MVP awards and four Super Bowl MVP trophies. Brady, of course, owns all of that hardware himself.

Such is the panorama of these playoffs following a season of pain in which so many superstars were rendered sideline spectators with broken bones, snapped ligaments, torn muscles.

Keenum replaced an injured Bradford, who had replaced an injured Teddy Bridgewater. Bradford, now back in uniform as Keenum’s backup, blew out a knee in the first month of the season, as did rookie running back in Cook, who needed reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Behind resilient coach Mike Zimmer , who resisted the urge to quit just before he got the Vikings’ head coaching gig in 2014, Minnesota rolled right along. Keenum deftly took over for Bradford, and Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray became a productive backfield tandem.

“We’ve got a bunch of fighters on this team,” Zimmer said. “They’ve been a resilient bunch all year long. I expect it to continue to be that way.”

The Patriots are also a bunch of fighters; they reached their seventh straight AFC title game despite losing Edelman, Brady’s top target, to a torn ACL in the preseason, and Hightower to a torn chest muscle in November.

Play caller Josh McDaniels and Brady, who led New England to a fifth Super Bowl title last year despite the absence of Rob Gronkowski, adjusted accordingly to Edelman’s absence with another terrific year.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy stepped in for Hightower and ranked third on the team with 73 tackles and second with 5+ sacks despite missing three of the final five games with a calf injury.

Van Noy’s sack total was just a half-sack shy of Hightower’s career high set in 2014.

“The thing about K.V. is he’s very versatile,” said Patriots safety and defensive captain Devin McCourty. “So we’ve used him a bunch of different ways. … He’s been a big asset to our team.”

The Jaguars are the healthiest of the remaining playoff teams. They have only one opening-day starter on injured reserve: former Pro Bowl receiver Robinson, who tore his left ACL on Jacksonville’s opener.

Four months removed from reconstructive surgery, Robinson is now traveling with the team, so he’ll be on the sideline Sunday at New England, serving as a mentor to a raw receiving corps.

“Every person in this locker room put in a lot of work to get to this point, with me being one of them,” said Robinson, who was poised for another big year after dominating the league’s best secondary in training camp.

His injury on Jacksonville’s third offensive snap created a huge void for the offense. Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns tried to pick up the slack, but they ended up on the sideline at one point with injuries, too, leaving rookies Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook to assume bigger roles.

Cole, an undrafted rookie from tiny Kentucky Wesleyan, had 42 catches for 748 yards and three scores in the regular season. He added a clutch 45-yard catch that set up a late TD in Jacksonville’s 45-42 stunner at Pittsburgh last week.

“I wish I could just wake up tomorrow and feel like I did Sept. 9,” Robinson said, “but I understand it’s going to be a process. I know I’ll be back to that point and better.”

Like so many other stars, Robinson will be in street clothes Sunday, cheering on his teammates in hopes of getting a sideline pass to the Super Bowl.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

With contributions from AP Pro Football Writers Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Mark Long and Kyle Hightower.

Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Steratore will lead 7-person officiating crew for Super Bowl

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NEW YORK (AP) Referee Gene Steratore will lead the seven-person crew of on-field game officials working the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The other members of the officiating crew for the Feb. 4 game are Roy Ellison (umpire), Jerry Bergman (down judge), Byron Boston (line judge), Tom Hill (field judge), Scott Edwards (side judge) and Perry Paganelli (back judge).

The crew has 127 years of NFL officiating experience and 101 combined playoff game assignments.

Steratore entered the league in 2003 as a field judge and was promoted to referee in 2006. He has officiated 11 playoff games, including two conference championships. He was the alternate referee for the 2010 Super Bowl.

Under the NFL officiating program’s evaluation system, officials must be rated in the top tier at their position to be eligible for the Super Bowl. They must have at least five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.

Paul Weidner is the replay official.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL